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Moving into the DSLR market

  1. Feb 23, 2012 #1


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    I went to college for photography and still have my old Pentax K-1000. That was a large fraction of a century ago. Since then, I've been doing fine with my point & shoot (Canon 630) for years.

    But on recent vaykays, my picture-taking has exceeded my camera's abilities. I want to step up. But I'm kind of behind the times DSLR-wise.

    A friend has a Canon Rebel XTi 400 that he's not using. He bought it for 800, but now can only get 200 for it. It's got the stock 28-55 plus something longer (not sure, maybe 80 or 110?) It's 10.1MP (Hee, a mere 2MP more than my phone...).

    I've read the SLR thread, and will be refining what I want in a camera, but nothing specific.

    It might suit my needs but I see that this camera is now more than 5 years old. Is that alone enough to make it not worth it at any reasonable discount?

    Say he wouldn't part with it for less than ... $400-500. Would it still be a bargain or has DSLR technology advanced that much in 5 years?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2012 #2
    I would not advice that, for that amount of money you can get a lot of camera's with superior performance. And yes there is significant advance especially in sensor quality. You may wonder if you really want an SLR or maybe an advanced larger sensor camera or maybe a superzoom bridge camera and you may want to look further than Canon. Sony and Nikon for instance have some cute models.
  4. Feb 25, 2012 #3


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    As Andre wrote - $400 for 400 is a waste of money.

    It is still a decent camera IMHO, but not for this price.
  5. Feb 25, 2012 #4


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    Regardless of its quality, if he can "only get $200 for it", you should be able to find one for that price as well. FWIW There are several on EBay UK at about that price point.
  6. Feb 26, 2012 #5

    Andy Resnick

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    I also agree- technology has advanced so much that it would be foolish to buy a used digital camera at your price point.
  7. Feb 26, 2012 #6


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    So, what might be a similar yet better camera for that kind of price?
  8. Feb 26, 2012 #7
    Ah, I wass working on that one, thinking of my first DSLR, the Canon 450D, which I selected in 2008 after reading this review, the superb image quality and very low noise, being the decisive factor.

    So I checked e-bay on prices. Still about $500 wow :uhh: So my sister had a super bargain when I sold her that camera. Going up, the 550D is also nice. It was my second camera and retails for just short of $600

    But when budgets are decisive, it might be a good idea to consider conceding a slightly worse image quality and less speed to get a lot of zoom with a bridge camera.
  9. Feb 26, 2012 #8


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    To be clear, budget is not a hard cutoff. I simply chose that number as approximately how much I wish to put into a camera.

    It should get me as much camera as I can handle.

    The issue is, for that much $, am I going to get better quality out of a new camera than this older XTi? If so, what camera(s)?

    BTW, zoom is not a feature I use as much as close-up, wide angle and macro shots.
  10. Feb 26, 2012 #9

    Andy Resnick

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    I'm not sure what camera will best meet your needs. Based on the dollar amounts floating around, I think your main consideration is between a camera with interchangable lenses or an all-in-one. IMO, if longer focal lengths are of interest, you can most likely use smaller image formats (four-thirds/DX/etc) and get a camera with an integrated zoom lens. If wide angle shots are of more interest, you probably need to seriously consider a (gently used) full-35mm frame format camera.

    OTOH, there's a lot of people going bonkers over the Fuji X100 (Which is more than $500, but whatever...)

    Edit: I see you answered one question already..
  11. Feb 26, 2012 #10


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    I guess I've been out of touch. I've never even heard these terms before.

    As for my needs, I am looking for something that's conveniently portable. A daytrip/vacation camera. Not professional photos, just something better than my point & shoot. I like a high resolution because I try to crop aggressively. I like colour, texture, flowers, bugs, playing with depth-of-field and postcard scenery to put in my gallery (5x7 prints but maybe I'll go up to 8x10).
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  12. Feb 26, 2012 #11


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    I own two Canon 30Ds and love them. Very nice bodies. They feel solid, too, which is important to me.

    BTW, they were not a significant upgrade over the 20D, and if you can find a 20D on the used market you might be able to find a decent deal.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  13. Feb 27, 2012 #12
    But that's essentially the same. With lots of zoom there is no cropping required.

    So in a nutshell, it's just what has priority:

    - Pricey
    - Bulky and heavy
    - changing lenses all the time
    - Optical View Finder
    - Most flexible
    - best depth of field range, good bokeh
    - Best image quality,
    - Superior image quality at high iso
    - High focussing speed for action shots

    Micro four/thirds (pocketable camera with exchangeable lenses)
    - Pricey
    - small and light weight (but with bigger lenses a bit bullky again)
    - changing lenses, but lenses generally with larger zoom ranges
    - No Optical View Finder (disadvantage in full light) Electronic view finder optional
    - Flexible
    - Fair depth of field range,
    - Good image quality
    - Fair image quality at high iso
    - Focussing speed inadequate for action shots

    Bridge camera
    - Affordable
    - Smaller than SLR but bigger than micro four thirds with small lens
    - No changing lenses; from moderate wide angle to superzoom in less than a second (to catch that bug or that flower)
    - Electronic view finder
    - least Flexible
    - little variation in depth of field, small aperture range, poor bokeh
    - Fair image quality, but still ample for 8 x 10
    - Forget about high iso
    - Focussing speed inadequate for action shots.

    So the idea is that's a trade off, it's just what's the highest priority. It would help if you could try them out, and it sounds as if the bridge camera is a serious consideration. This test may help
  14. Feb 27, 2012 #13


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    No. Maybe someday I'll do my composition in-camera, but right now, I get as wide as I need to get the full subject, then do my cropping in the editing phase. I'd hate to crop in-camera, then decide during editing that I wanted to rotate the image a couple of degrees. Too late.
  15. Feb 27, 2012 #14
    Maybe you are still thinking film. Every shot costs. Digital means firing 50 shots in every aspect and decide at the computer.

    But sure, have it your way

    I was going to recommend this one.
  16. Feb 27, 2012 #15

    Andy Resnick

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    Ok, this helps frame the issue.

    Your requirements/desirements are somewhat at cross-purposes. For example, a daytrip/portable/simple camera indicates a point&shoot (maybe a fancy one, but a basic small camera nonetheless). An 8X10, professional quality print (300 dpi), means you only need 7 Mpixels, so even a 12 MP sensor will give you plenty of room for cropping. There are dozens of really nice cameras that will provide a zoom range of about 25mm-400mm (35mm-equivalent).

    What you will give up for the camera specs above is depth-of-field: those cameras operate with high f/#, long focal length lenses for several reasons- improved optical performance, for one. So now you are looking at big fat lenses, which (1) increase the size of the camera which goes against the 'conveniently portable' spec, and (2) are made for camera bodies with interchangeable lenses, which goes against the 'not professional photos' spec.

    Another thing you (potentially) give up is the macro (close-in focus). Again, many all-in-one cameras have a macro feature, and some of them are decent, but a high-quality macro lens will need to be used on a interchangeable camera.

    I was wondering what lenses do you have for your Pentax K1000? Something to consider is that you can often find an adapter to other camera bodies- this will not only save you some cash, but since you are used to those lenses already there's much less of a learning curve. That assumes the lenses are worth keeping!

  17. Feb 27, 2012 #16


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    Panasonic has very nice shirt-pocket sized cameras with great Leica zooms. Mine seems a bit "soft" at infinity but the macro performance is impressive. I have the DMC-ZS3 12X. I'm sure that there is something nicer in the Lumix line by now, since this is maybe 3 years old, but it is still my go-to for hikes, walks with my dog, and any other place the DSLRs would be a pain to tote around. The camera has customizable preset modes, and can drop into "movie mode" with the touch of a button. Here is a shot of the front of the camera (in a mirror).

    Here is a macro shot of the back of a reproduction Texas Militia uniform button.

    There are lots of times when lugging DSLRs and interchangeable lenses can be inconvenient, but I can always make room for this little Panasonic
  18. Feb 27, 2012 #17


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    No, I'm happy to take as many shots as I need, but sometimes the shot does not last long enough to take 50. Or even 2. And it is far easier for me to compose a shot at my laptop, when I can examine every detail than out in the field.
  19. Feb 27, 2012 #18


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    Yup. I've got a point & shoot for my shirt pocket. I'm looking for something a step or two up from there.
  20. Feb 27, 2012 #19
    Okay the smallest thing with the best resolution on the market is currently the Sony NEX7 but at a co$t.
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